SA teen on top at Red Bull Ring

4 June 2013

South African teenager Kelvin van der Linde dominated the second and third rounds of the international Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup one-make series in Austria on Saturday and Sunday, with back-to-back victories on the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.

The 2012 South African Volkswagen Cup champion was ably supported by 16- year-old compatriot Jordan Pepper, who finished third in race one on Saturday and fifth in Sunday’s round in front of a large crowd which had gathered to watch the main attraction, the German Touring Car Championship (DTM).

Van der Linde won Saturday’s race over 10 laps from pole position after it was shortened by two laps as a result of an accident.

Podium

With fellow South African Pepper, like Van der Linde just 16 years of age, third, it was a proud moment for the two Johannesburg teenagers as they stood on the podium with 19-year-old Michelle Gatting of Denmark, who finished second.

It was an outstanding performance by the rising star of South African motorsport, who is competing for the first time in the one-make series and had never previously raced on the Austrian circuit.

Four weeks ago, he made his debut in the series at the Hockenheimring grand prix circuit in Germany, where he qualified second and finished fourth despite losing the car’s power steering on the opening lap.

Championship

Van der Linde now leads the championship with 80 points after three rounds with six remaining. Gatting is second with 72 points.

Gatting and Van der Linde were involved in a thrilling duel for the lead in Saturday’s race before the young South African got the upper hand and crossed the line with a 5.6-second advantage.

The top eight finishers then started Sunday’s race in reverse order and Van der Linde took full advantage of a great start from eighth on the grid to move into the lead by the second lap.

He steadily pulled away from the rest of the field to take the chequered flag by a comfortable 10.2 seconds from Gatting and 10.5 seconds ahead of Kasper Jensen.

‘Tough’

“My start in race one was not good and Michelle put me under pressure right from the word go,” a happy Van der Linde said afterwards. “We were involved in a tough, but fair duel.

“I had a great start in race two and made up a lot of places on the opening lap. Once I got to the front, it was just a case of maintaining the pace and making no mistakes.

“I’m very happy with my first Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup victories at the Red Bull Ring, which is a new circuit to me.”

The next round is at the Norisring circuit in Germany on July 13.

SAinfo reporter

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